Archives for category: Poetry of KL Robyn

the wingèd ones. Their songs,
the uplifting disturbance of the quiet dawn,
the insomniac’s cohort in the long night.
That exhilaration of larks reminding us
that speaking to life is everyone’s job.

Farther out,
the choir of angels.
Also two-legged, but taller
and robed in fabric
not feathers. Still, they sing,
don’t they?

Unhappily, the rest of us only fly
in steel rooms, two-wheeled, two-winged,
but cold, mercantile rather than ecstatic.
Separation from everything, exaggerated
by the pressure in the cabin. The fumes
of the long-extinct permeating the senses.

Oh, but sleeping—
ever so rarely,
that draft of silence
swooping over the land
will lift you up.
Your feet take leave
of gravity’s pull
and you hover there with them,
falling up and out
instead of down and in,
and the urge to sing bursts
from your once-grounded throat.

And then
there are those times
when singing itself …
when the angel and the lark …
when pure song …

—The title comes from a line in “Utterance” by W.S. Merwin (from The Rain in the Trees, 1988).

© 2015 KL Robyn

Even from here I can see the rain.
Relentless sheets of acid grey
forming the boundary
between this dry moment
and the deluge to come.

No one will be spared.

I watch the black birds
circling as if to warn us.
But they have long since
stopped caring about people,
their signs having gone unread
too long. Their numbers dwindling
from bad seed and greasy water.
Life was better for them
when we died young.

There are worse things than death:
living with ill intent,
the damage caused,
the mirthless cackling of winners
as they gather in their rubber suits.

One of the birds lights near,
its feathers wet and shiny,
a hashtag of twigs in its beak.
Our eyes meet for a long second,
and the image of a flotilla of rafts
enters my mind.

© 2015 KL Robyn

What if my words
sowed corn, planted beans, grew squash?
What if they built houses, barns or bridges?
Wouldn’t it be better to nourish the body
with sacred food now that most minds want to fill
their souls with falsehoods and stimulants?
And better to give away keys and passages with
the hope of crossing the thresholds of strangers
than to meet myself in the middle
and not know who I am.

If my words
repaired shoes, zippers, faucets, or even printers,
I could trade in the effort to make something
of myself without facing accusations,
without having to justify noticing what doesn’t work.

If my words were shovels instead,
rakes, hammers, saucepans,
they’d be tools that dig down deep,
clear out, nail down, and simmer,
when so much talk has become
too superficial and disposable to bear.

What if my words were horses?
Would I ride off into the sunset
or put them away wet?
Would I know how to take care
of my freedom?

© 2015 KL Robyn

Remembering the Underground

Not just below the radar,
they went beneath the surface.
Dug into the main streams,
hiding out in caves
like outlaws,
spelunking for truth
like sadhus.

The underground press—
The underground movements—
pushing, steady, disturbing
slowly, press … poke …
Bored yet?

Oh but water seeps in all directions:
filters into tributaries making
new caves, finding new openings—
as well as to the surface
to join with the runoff.

Let us be our own underground!
Creep in plain sight,
pressing firmly but gently
until the envelopes we push
start to stick

 Let us move blind
like grubs and moles
raising earth
in the night,
feeding from the root,
drinking at the river
of consciousness,
not letting anyone know
that we mean to survive
despite our lack of time
in the sun.

KL Robyn ©2013

I lose my purpose like keys mislaid
Where was I when I saw it last?
I remember a rehearsal …
a night I was writing …
I remember making music
with somebody …

No, wait, I’ve seen it since then.
While lying with you,
walking with you,
marrying you …
Yes, I had it with me then.

Today, I look for it
in the refrigerator,
under the covers,
amongst the bills …
It must be around here
somewhere.

I can’t think where to look
stuck in the shallows like I’ve been,
skimming the surface of money
to live on, the moneyed in power,
and the money I owe them …
and me just counting backwards
from one.

How can I still be wondering
who I am at this age, so near
to a full senior discount?
The costume still unsewn,
once-sharp pins in permanent dispute
with the undecided design.
That sweet rose of poise in bud so long
it’s not clear it will ever bloom.

What’s worse, I seem myself
to appear and disappear
like a blinking light on shuffle
no rhythm to the on or off, no
agreement among the witnesses:
Oh yes, her light is bright …
I thought her rather dim …
A force to be reckoned with …
No, I’m sure we’ve never met.

Pull the wet world on like a raincoat
and let it drip on the floor.
Check the mirror in the hall
to see who’s coming or going.
Will the one who gets there
be the one who is leaving?
The one to come back?

I want to be the one with full lungs
and a steady beat, an easy sparkle and
a quick step. But my belly’s soft
and my hands tend to tremble;
I need time to decide what to do.

Thank the gods of doubt and worry,
a Presence shimmers near and never
wavering. Keys glittering on their hook.

And you,
always you.

KL Robyn © 2012

She was not being mean
just letting me know
where my shadow resides.

The dark throws down a shaft
on the other side of light—
whatever lies within it
will be hidden, leaving me
to wonder: how dangerous am I?

An obstruction at the heart
of things, always in the middle …
first one leg, then the other,
the hot side of Mercury
and the cold side toward us.
Colors and black, blue snow and black,
the long arm of memory
ensleeved in misunderstanding.

My double walks out of the room,
pulls me like the moon,
and I rehearse the act of tides.
Focusing the light upstage,
I turn my ears like a bowl
toward the pit, knowing full well
that just beyond the burning
is the rhapsody.

 

© KL Robyn 7 Sept 2012

I remember the taste of blood

running to where my brother
was playing the sheriff
with my old-fashioned telephone.
He got the ring and sent me,
the deputy, running and running
around the sidewalked circle
to the OK Corral and back again.

I was bringing a message.

Young Mercury, fleet-footed
and helmeted, must not have
been with me that day as I went
flying around, only to crash on
some concrete steps at the zenith.
My head burst open and flooded me
with the metallic red stuff, all
warm and sticky and flowing
into my eyes and mouth.

Everyone had to be brave.

Later, at the hospital
I awakened from the ether
with three stitches,
one for each of my years;
the taste of metal
and the spirit of the message
forever linked.

—KL Robyn
16 March 2012